|London: Resist FreeShop Eviction!|
Non-Commercial House is located where the wealth of the City meets the poverty of East End, and the trendiness of arty Shoreditch. It is a project at the frontiers.
In the abandoned building activists and volunteers have created London's biggest free shop. This is a space which offers a solution to the economic downturn. Here, evertything is free. There are no price labels just goodwill. People don't exchange but share their goods. The shop is full of donated clothes of all sizes and types. Books and videos are lined up on the shelves. Carpets with little shoes and toys in the corner mark the kids' section. Locals love the space. They turn up browsing amongst the objects or dropping in their unwanted clothes and gadgets. The homeless, the office worker, the immigrant, the single mother, the artist are all amongst the patrons.
In accordance with the spirit of the place workshops, discussions and film screenings are held on the alternatives and the problems of the current economic system. These people whose tax money went without asking them to save those banks which caused the economic crisis, now are offering their own solution to the recession by cultivating an ethos of co-operation and mutual aid, instead of competition and unscrupulous profit hunting.
But the project is in danger now. The City of London Corporation owns the building and intends to evict Non-Commercial House. This anachronistic political body with its Lord Mayor, Aldermen and selected electorate of freemen and liverymen ignores all the attempts of the volunteers to initiate a negotiation, putting the interests of the corporations and businesses above those of the local population. The City of London has left the building empty for years to deteriorate and will continue to do so if this project is evicted. They disregard the petition in favour of Non Commercial House signed by hundreds of supporters. They are instead choosing to spend tax payers' money on going to court, pay empty property tax, secure the building and allow it to fall in to a state of disrepair.
Non-Commercial House might be evicted tomorrow just like the nearby rampART Creative Centre and Social Space was evicted not long ago, but the spirit of these spaces will remain with us. We believe spaces which reflect on the problems of our political, economic system, and which are organized on the basis of collective decision-making, are the corner-stones for creating a better society. That is why we ask everbody who would like to promote sharing instead of exchange, who dreams of living in a better society to come and resist the bailiffs!
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